Taiwan Rattled by Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years

Calista Alma
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April 03, 2024

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday, marking the most violent seismic event to hit the island in a quarter-century, resulting in the collapse of several buildings.

The undersea quake occurred near Taiwan’s eastern coast on April 3, briefly triggering tsunami warnings in Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. Striking at a shallow depth just before 8:00 a.m. local time, the tremor was followed by a series of aftershocks in the same vicinity. Residents in the capital, Taipei, reported feeling the tremors. Initial reports from firefighters indicated one fatality and approximately fifty injuries.

Describing the event as the strongest in 25 years since the 1999 earthquake, Wu Chien-fu, director of the Taipei Seismological Center, highlighted the quake’s widespread impact across Taiwan and neighboring islands. The 1999 earthquake, measuring 7.6 magnitude, claimed 2,400 lives, marking Taiwan’s deadliest modern disaster.

Eyewitnesses described the quake’s intensity, with Phil Smith, a resident of Taipei, recalling it as the most significant he had ever experienced. While two buildings collapsed in Hualien, a town near the epicenter, there were no immediate details on trapped individuals.

Amidst the seismic activity, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world’s leading chip manufacturer, swiftly evacuated its production facilities.

Tsunami alerts prompted precautionary measures in Japan and the Philippines. In Japan, an evacuation order was issued for islands southwest of the country, particularly Okinawa, where one-meter-high waves were anticipated. Similarly, the Philippines advised coastal residents across 23 provinces to seek higher ground, warning of potential tsunami waves.

As the affected regions braced for potential impacts, authorities urged boat owners to secure vessels and coastal communities to remain vigilant until further notice.

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